Alex's Tech Thoughts

Smaller Hackathons

This past weekend we had a Dwolla hackathon in Iowa that we dubbed the Old MacDonald Hackathon. It was a blast and I was really happy to help organize it with the team.

Before the Old MacDonald Hackathon, we organized a bigger hackathon at the end of the summer called eCommerce Hack Day. This was 300+ people, 25+ companies, build-whatever-you-want-that-relates-to-eCommerce, and one hell of a weekend.

The idea of the Old MacDonald Hackathon was that to be considered for the prizes (a cow, a pig, and a rooster— yes you read that right) you needed to use the Dwolla API in your project. We held the hackathon at our main office, had over 100 people RSVP for the event and ended up with 12 awesome projects (about 50 developers in total). High quality awesome projects. I was super impressed with the caliber of teams and execution. We had a team fly in from SF (update: shoutout to team Ultapay!), a few come from Kansas City, and a bunch of homegrown developers.

Anyways, due to the success of the event and the quality time our developer team spent with random engineers learning more about their needs, I think we will see this becoming a quarterly event. I would definitely recommend that other API-driven startups start hosting smaller, API-specific hackathons. From the feedback we have received so far it definitely pays off.

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